Monday, September 12, 2005


Damaged by childhood and by appalling family tragedies, the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch was obsessed by sickness, insanity, and death much of which he apparently expressed in his famous painting "The Scream".

Edvard Munch described "The Scream", in one of his notes:

"I was walking along the road with two friends.
The sun was setting.
I felt a breath of melancholy.
Suddenly the sky turned blood-red.
I stopped, and leaned against the railing, deathly tired;
looking out across the flaming clouds that hung like blood
and a sword over the blue-black fjord and town.
My friends walked on–
I stood there, trembling with fear.
And I sensed a great, infinite scream pass through nature."

Today, I had a very late lunch with a friend who is going through quite a lot of change. She remarked while we were eating that to "not know fear is to invite fear... That we must recognize that we are fearful and then deal with it consciously".

She then said, "fear is out there, but it's just not welcome to my party".

Carl Jung said, "Man's task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. "

That sounds very much like what my friend said.

In these times that we share, there are two ways to deal with the intense dramatic flow of information that we are receiving. One is to ignore it or bury it. Versions of this strategy include shaping the information to fit your view so that the information itself does not conflict with your view or perspective of the situation.

If you choose to not believe that humankind in on the brink of a peak in oil production, then gasoline prices are up because the majors are using current events and high demand for their product to allow them to bid the price up. You can therefore blame the greed that is the bedrock of our system. Or, perhaps you might believe that gasoline prices are up because the refining capacity is stretched to its limit because refineries cannot be built in this country due to excessive environmental regulations. You can therefore blame the liberal enviros.

On quite a different level, we all fear at deep levels that we might not be clothed or have shelter. We don't want to be broke. It is very unconscious, and a very powerful tool for shaping our world views. If some one or a whole city is suddenly without food, shelter, and water, our unconscious fear may drive us to choose to demonize those people. We may say that they chose to be poor, or that they were lazy. I heard a well known conservative radio commentator say exactly that last week. Or, even better, there is a story running around that blames the welfare state for the debacle and thus by deduction, you therefore can blame liberals for the needless suffering and loss of life.

In a similar vein, one way to deal with news about climate change and how it is and is going to effect your life, and the lives of your children and their children is to not accept it. You can say that the jury is still out, even though the Academies of Science of all major countries are urging the politicians to act now to avoid even more suffering than the suffering we have just witnessed these last weeks. If we allow our fears to overcome our ability to think clearly, we will be creating a future that many many generations will remember us for.... and they will not remember us favorably.

Republican faithful must sift through the apparent layers of lies and distortions in order to defend the party they have attached their faith to. They may choose to blame a nonexistent liberal media. Otherwise, they would have to consider the possibility that their party and their leadership is completely out of touch with reality, very incompetent at governing, or plain old self serving. Some have even displayed the ultimate in hubristic thinking by stating that they create the reality. They do have problems with things like wars and hurricanes that don't follow the "new con" version of things.

Therefore, you reason that is better to watch a network that is fair and balanced than be forced to deal with your own fear that you have made a serious miscalculation and error in judgment.

Of course, the greatest boogey man for all of us is the fear of death. Jung split with Freud over this. Jung believed that the fear of death was a stronger unconscious driver than sex. Personally, from my perspective, these two seem to be two sides of the same coin, but that is a different story.

Our fear of death leads us to all kinds of complicated aversion techniques.

The greatest aversion technique is religion, where death is cheated either by good work, by faith, by big tombs with gold in them, by the Priesthood, by reincarnation, and by all other kinds of imaginings. Since life is a paradox, this subconcious fear of death leads to extreem religious beliefs where the "faithful" actually rain death on others for their non-belief.

The other way to deal with fear is to face it.

Face it, but not invite it to your party.

If we face the perfect storm of our outer world,

and the storm of emotions in our inner world.

With deep compassionate hearts and truly free open minds,

We can make this world a better, safer, more beautiful place.

We cannot win a war against terror.

For we are merely fighting our own shadow.

We have a lot of work to do.

Before the light is lost between us.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

Ambrose Redmoon

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.



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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes, death and evil win. CHF

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there is this, inspired by a sunset:

If this is "fading"
Oh let me immediately "fade"!
If this is "dying"
Bury me, in such a shroud of red!
If this is "sleep"
On such a night
How proud to shut the eye!
Good Evening, gentle
Fellow men!
Peacock presumes to die!

Emily Dickenson, 1859

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a sensitive yet fun read. nice pics.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice OZ. I agree with CHF though. let's not let this be sometimes. MS

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. It is good to address this thing called fear. Most people that I know are worried.
I grew up believing that I would be protected by the government.

Something has changed, or perhaps nothing is changed except the mask and a little more perception on my part.

Now we have an administration that is not only not protecting us, but actually fostering fear. If New Orleans taught us anything it is that we are on our own. The gloves are off. We will have to band together in like-mindedness if we are to survive well.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear Makes Us Obey - March 1985

Why do we do all this--obey, follow, copy? Why? Because we are frightened inwardly to be uncertain.

We want to be certain--we want to be certain financially, we want to be certain morally--we want to be approved, we want to be in a safe position., we want never to be confronted with trouble, pain, suffering, we want to be enclosed.

So, fear, consciously or unconsciously, makes us obey the Master, the leader, the priest, the government. Fear also controls us form doing something which may be harmful to others, because we will be punished.

So behind all actions, greeds, pursuits, lurks this desire for certainty, this desire to be assured.

So without resolving fear, without being free from fear, merely to obey or to be obeyed has little significance; what has meaning is to understand this fear from day to day and how fear shows itself in different ways.

It is only when there is freedom from fear that there is that inward quality of understanding, that aloneness in which there is no accumulation of knowledge or of experience, and it is that alone which gives extraordinary clarity in the pursuit of the real.

Pearls from J. Krishnamurti

7:10 AM  
Blogger Step Back said...

We deal with the world, with "fear", with uncertainties; based on the models we keep inside our heads of who we are.

If we believe we are God's children and HE will take care of us, then we behave in accordance with that, child's eye view of the universe.

If we understand that we are freaks of "evolution", that we posses convoluted brain parts that fight against each other, then maybe we have a chance to understand why we fight amongst ourselves.

5:53 PM  

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